Copyright

Breach of copyright is on of the most common crimes in Australia. Surely the fact that it's barely acknowledged means that it's not important, right? But then there are all these artists claiming that their livelihoods are ruined by piracy. Photographers complain that websites use their work without permission all the time. Musicians steal music and complain about people stealing their music. Record companies are going broke but their executives are painted as money-hungry monsters with cocaine around their nostrils and blood on their teeth.

We try to get to the bottom of what copyright actually means and steer away from the overly emotional language and maybe we get an understanding of what it means to create something and put it out into the world for people to enjoy.

David Vodicka, partner at Media Arts Lawyers is our in-studio expert and he fills us with the knowledge of law and the ownership of non-physical things.

Definitions

Copyright
The exclusive legal right, given to an originator or an assignee to print, publish, perform, film, or record literary, artistic, material and to authorise others to do the same. (This definition has been lifted directly from the Apple computer dictionary. No court has tested how legal it is to lift a dictionary definition from one's own computer)
The sum of two copywrongs.
Copywriting
The act of writing advertising copy. It's OK. This word confuses everybody.
Royalties
The money an artist or composer gets for each use of their performance or work. To understand exactly how much an artist receives involves 97% mathematics and 7% magic.
Mechanical Royalties
The royalties an artist gets for reproducing their music onto a CD, DVD or LP.
The Cloud
A place down the road from Heaven where all your secrets are kept.
Spotify
A web based music compendium where people can listen to almost every song ever recorded and give an artist about a hundredth of a cent for the privilege.
Piracy
The practice of attacking and robbing ships at sea.
Compact Disc (CD)
A small plastic disc that people used in the olden days to store music. One CD would hold an incredible 70 something minutes!

Should Copyright be Reformed?

The following, appeared in quasi-academic online journal, The Conversation:

The problem with copyright law is that it lags not only technical innovations but also what is termed the “de facto” application of copyright. In other words, society is already behaving collectively to determine what they consider fair and reasonable.

So, has copyright failed to keep up with technology or has technology changed our patience or willingness to uphold copyright?